criminal charges and civil sanctions by the FAA were filed
against them, but all later dropped. In their 2006 trial, the jury
awarded $9 million, including $4 million in punitive damages.
In 2009, the Arizona Court of Appeals rejected most of
Southwest’s challenges but reversed the award of unconstitutionally excessive punitive damages. The judgment was
reduced to a total of $1 million in punitive damages. Conclusion
I spent the first six weeks of 2010 in trial. I learned great things
every day from my trial partner, the utterly unflappable Warren
Platt. It gave me a renewed sense of how much background work
and dedication the art of trial really takes. It also brought back to
me that moment of inspiration that I’ll always remember from law
school Trial Practice, when I had that “aha” moment about how
fun and exciting it could be.
1. Thanks to the readers of this annual article
for your positive comments and the
encouragement to keep writing it. I’m
grateful to my husband and family who
helped me to weather the storms of trial
and all else. Thanks to Snell & Wilmer
L.L.P., whose name I’ve always been
proud to have linked with mine.
This year’s article is dedicated to two
friends lost to the legal world recently.
Jonas Saunders was a calm and steady presence who helped us avoid bad verdicts and
find the middle ground. His last verdict
was a huge win, and he was respected
nationwide on both sides. Dan McAuliffe
was a true intellectual of great spirit. He
was a frequent author on these and many
other pages, and I’ll always remember how
he especially encouraged me on a challenging case.
2. This article analyzes 299 civil verdicts
reported from the Superior Courts of
Arizona and the United States District
Court and Bankruptcy Court for the
District of Arizona in 2009. Although the
great majority were jury verdicts, some
were bench trials. The parties named are
the ones who were active in the case when
it went to verdict.
3. Science Foundation of Arizona, Inc. v. State
of Arizona, Maricopa County Superior
4. Sheri Qualters, Top Verdicts of 2009,
NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL, Mar. 15, 2010,
6. Nora Lockwood Tooher, Florida Jury
Awards $330M in DUI Fatality,
LAWYERSUSA, Jan. 15, 2010, at 4.
7. Susan Bocamazo, Top 10 Jury Verdicts
2009, LAWYERSUSA, Jan. 15, 2010, at 2-
8. This article makes no comment on the
merits of the claims or defenses, or the parties or specific lawyers involved, in these
cases. If there have been significant post-verdict developments as of the date this
article went to press, those are footnoted.
Not all of the post-verdict activity is
reported here, which would be an article
9. Defendants filed a motion for a new trial,
which was denied, and have filed an appeal,
which is pending.
10. Post-trial, the court reduced the punitive
portion of the award to $620,000.
Applying State Farm and its related
Arizona cases, the court found the ratio
between the compensatory and punitive
damages to be “unconstitutionally excessive” and reduced it to a 4: 1 ratio. Order
dated Aug. 5, 2009.
11. Other defendants were William Aubrey and
Brenda Todd. Defendants appealed the
judgment to a district court judge, who
affirmed it. They also filed notices of
appeal, which are pending.
12. Prior to verdict, the parties had entered
into a $2 million/$500,000 high/low
13. Other defendants were USSO, LLC;
CASC, Inc.; Atlanta SC, Inc.; and
IGOVincent, Inc. Defendants filed
motions for a new trial and for judgment
as a matter of law, which were denied. The
court doubled the jury’s awards on the
claim for trademark infringement to $5
million and on the claim for false advertising to $2 million, rendering the total
award $10.1 million.
14. Before the second phase, Nelcela entered
into a settlement agreement with Lexcel
that resolved Lexcel’s copyright infringement claims. The trial in the second phase
of the case was of claims asserted by Post
Integrations, Inc. and Merchant
Transaction Systems against Nelcela and
claims of Nelcela against Post Integrations.
15. Defendants filed a motion to amend the
judgment or in the alternative for a new
trial, and that motion is pending.
16. Desert Sky Esplanade filed a motion for a
new trial, which was denied, and has filed
an appeal, which is pending.
17. Average verdicts and median verdicts are
computed from all plaintiffs’ verdicts in the
particular venue. Defense verdicts and
reductions for comparative negligence or
non-party fault are deliberately not factored
into the analyses of averages and medians.
18. Qualters, supra note 4, at 18.
19. Plaintiffs filed a motion for a new trial,
which was denied.
20. Other plaintiffs were Timothy Glass, Ruth
Michael, Elizabeth Miller and Estate of
Dorothy Glass. Other defendants were
Steven L. Evans and Marta Evans. The
defense verdict was on the wrongful death
claim; the jury deadlocked on the
abuse/neglect claim, and the last vote was
5–2 in favor of defendants.
21. Another plaintiff was Araceli Zendejas.
Other defendants were Shell Chemical LP
and Shell Chemical Corp.
22. Other plaintiffs were Rebecca Linneen,
Dennis Ebel, Donna Oltmann-Ebel and
Tyler Spurbeck. A second defendant was
Alfred Galaviz, Jr. After this accident, several Arizona school districts adopted closed-campus policies, and stricter driving laws
for teens were proposed.
23. Other plaintiffs were Denise Vigil and
Alexis Vigil. Other defendants were
Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Kierland
Resort Co. LLC, Westin Kierland LLC,
The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa,
Woodbine Development Corp., Troon Golf
LLC, Troon Golf Administration LLC, and
Troon Golf Management Inc. Plaintiffs
filed a motion for a new trial, which was
24. Other defendants were the Arizona Board
of Regents and Alvin Mushkatel. Plaintiff
filed a motion for a new trial, which was